Free Lunch


One of the beautiful gifts to come out of this world-altering pandemic is that my husband, Judah, now mostly works from home.

He is a computer guy and manages other computer people.


I know a lot about what he does.


He’s my favorite human so I love having him around.


We don’t interact a ton during the day. We don’t even come close to having lunch together every day, but we have it far more frequently than when he was a 45-minute commute away instead of just up a flight of stairs.


An unexpected benefit of him being home so much has been the random “Can I vent to you for a second?” or “Can I run this by you?” moments which often occur during lunch. Him to me. And me to him.

On a recent Friday, Judah ran out to pick up his food for lunch. His company has a GrubHub account they can use to buy themselves lunch every Friday. He came back and asked if he could vent for a moment before going back upstairs to have Zoom lunch with his team.


I stopped what I was doing, and the venting session commenced.


That morning, he had been in a meeting with other management-level teammates discussing an upcoming project. The company had done hack-a-thons in the past (think of setting aside one day where everyone teams up randomly to work on ideas people in the company want to work on; no worries if it turns out to be a bad idea or goes nowhere). They are experimenting with doing a rad-a-thon within their smaller team (don’t Google rad-a-thon; I think they made it up). Instead of spending one day, heads-down, hyper-focused, for a hack-a-thon, they are going to do a rad-a-thon for an entire week.


Doesn’t that sound rad?


I bet that’s where they got the name.


This wasn’t the first time we’d talked about this stuff, so even though I am not a tech person in any way, shape, or form, I have been married to one for almost seventeen years and know a lot of the lingo.


You pick up things along the way.


I was feeling pretty rad about keeping pace with all the jargon and references from previous venting sessions.


His major beef with the morning’s conversation was that, as he saw it, the management members expected his team to do more work in less time with less resources.

“You don’t get lunch for free,” he said.

He was the only person in the conversation who seemed to have a problem with this setup. He was afraid it would push his engineers to the point of burnout.


No one seemed to be moved by his fears and hesitations.


He said, “Finally I ceded to them.”


Did you at least get free lunch for them?

“What?”


Did you at least get them some lunch?


“Wait. Is that a sexual reference?”


WHAT?! No! How is “lunch” a sexual reference?


“What are you talking about?”

You said they weren’t even getting lunch?


“No, I didn’t.”


From where I’m standing, you did! You said, “They don’t even get free lunch.”


“I didn’t say anything about lunch.”


Yes, you did!


“Oh! I asked if I could talk to you really quickly before I go upstairs and have lunch.”


No. I swear you said something about them not even getting lunch for free.


“Are you serious right now?!”

Yes!

“You’re actually talking about lunch?”


Yes!


"It was a metaphor.”


What?! How could that have been sexual? What, did you think I thought you were offering them sexual favors for working so hard?

“No! There’s an idiom that you don’t get lunch for free.”


Okay. So you don’t get something for nothing.


“You took it literally….”


Yes! We’re standing here with your free lunch, provided by the company, sitting on the counter in front of me … and I am a literal person!

“Though … it’s not a bad idea.”


I know! That’s why I thought it’s what you were saying! If they’re going to be asked to do all this extra work, the least you can do is provide free lunch for them! I thought you were fighting to get them at least one perk!


<exhale>


Thankfully, by this point, we were both laughing at the absurdity of it all.


This is why I often feel stupid around heady people. This isn’t the first time this has happened in my life (see Heroin post), and it won’t be the last.


It’s also probably why I have a good sense of humor. I’ve been on this end of this conversation so many times.


It’s probably also why I like words so much.

And dual meanings.


Because I’ve stumbled into them so often because I take things so freaking literally.

Cut me off a piece of that tasty humble pie.

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